rootBefore receiving this album, I couldn’t have told you how many albums Root have released. It just seems they have been around forever. “Kärgeräs – Return from Oblivion” is in fact the band’s tenth. I own one of them – Black Seal (2001). That one is a solid and interesting an album as you could get, and testimony to the respect they get and deserve as a top band whose music emanates from a very dark place. It’s now been a long five years since their previous album “Heritage of Satan”.

Dark they are, but the songs also have a strange catchiness about them. Singer Big Boss enhances the mood with his deep and unique operatic tones. After the infectious “Life of Demon”, “Osculum Infame” and ”Moment of Fright” are deeper and more menacing. The vocal gymnastics and the instruments share the same majesty and are in perfect co-ordination for this mystical music, which sits alongside the tomes of Rotting Christ in creating its lofty atmospheres. The instrumentals are immaculately patient and sludgy. Big Boss supplies the theatrical and dramatic element as the instrumentalists create uncompromising clouds of darkness on “On the Book of Death”. It’s one deathly tune after one but each one is a delight, never resorting to violence but pummelling out epic riffs and thunderous atmospheres. Big Boss lords over proceedings like an imperial warlord. “I am the master”, he whispers darkly on the creepy and minimal “Moment of Hope”. It’s haunting. It’s pure theatre. The guitar sound has moved away from the deep tones, and is now clear and rich. The melancholy of “Moment of Hope” strongly recalled to me the great days of Kjetil singing on Green Carnation’s “Boy in the Attic”. It’s brilliant and moving. “The Key To the Empty Room” starts with a Rotting Christ-like chant before patiently trudging through a post metal type riff. It’s slow. The atmosphere is disturbing and almost suicidal. “I’m looking for the key”, he growls before laughing. The atmosphere is depressive and almost monotonous, but it’s also entrancing. The beat is perfect – steady and hypnotising. Sad symphony enters the scene. It is appropriate. “Up to the Down” has the same qualities, tapping out a steady beat, a delicate guitar line and implicating the listener in the sadness. “Do You Think It Is the End” then brings the album to a close with a slow march and an ironic ending.

After hooking us in, Root engage us in their deep and dark world to a point where there is no escape. The technique is superb – immaculate instrumentals to hypnotise us, always dark but delicate, deep, mystical and melancholic. The vocals heighten the mysticism with their imperial tones. Root just work from their own template and once again have created a unique and atmospherically dark album in “Kärgeräs – Return from Oblivion”

(8.5/10 Andrew Doherty)